There’s more to Orlando’s evolving food scene than award-winning restaurants and locally owned eateries. At these culinary hotspots, local chefs invite traveling foodies into the kitchen for hands-on cooking classes ideal for a memorable date night or a girls’ night out. Sharpen your skills, take culinary cues from top chefs and feast on the fruits of your labor at these cooking classes worthy of inclusion in your Orlando itinerary.
Famous for its lively nightly flamenco shows and delectable Spanish cuisine, Tapa Toro serves up more than entertainment and culinary treasures in the I-Drive 360 complex. The restaurant’s ‘En La Cocina’ cooking class series whisks you behind the scenes for an interactive feast around the paella pit with Executive Chef Wendy Lopez.
Throughout the evening you’ll cook some of Chef Wendy’s favorite recipes from around the globe, like Spanish serrano ham wrapped dates, English Beef Wellington and Greek tzatziki. Enjoy additional treats while you cook, including dessert and tapas from the kitchen. Classes are held once a month from January through April and cost $49 per person plus tax and gratuity.
After a day of Winter Park exploring, continue your adventure as you’re transformed into a sushi chef for the night at Kona Grill. Personalized sushi rolling classes are offered at the restaurant and include private instruction from a head sushi chef. Don a sushi bandana, learn proper sushi lingo and practice hand rolling sushi.
Indulge in creations such as shrimp tempura rolls, sashimi, nigiri, checkerboard rolls, and dragon rolls paired with an optional sake flight, available for an additional $12. You’ll receive a makisu (bamboo sushi rolling mat) and chopsticks to take home. Class levels range from basic to advanced, with a cost of $40 - $75 per person, and require an advance notice of 48 hours. Call 407-900-0100 for reservations.
Truffles & Trifles
Founded by Marci Arthur, Truffles & Trifles gourmet cooking school is located in College Park, a charming Orlando Main Street District worth visiting. Boost your culinary prowess and add a few recipes to your portfolio through the diverse class offerings, covering everything from macarons to worldly cuisines, and from kitchen techniques to homemade pasta.
Make a multi-course meal with friends during a special Girls’ Night Out class, or hone kitchen skills alongside your special someone during the monthly date night class. Classes begin at $57 per person.
Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
Nestled among the eateries in Orlando’s famed Restaurant Row just minutes from International Drive, Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi regularly hosts Sushi 101 classes. Grasp techniques and study with Dragonfly’s team of sushi experts, while perfecting the art of making sushi rice, nigiri, California rolls, crunch rolls and hand rolls.
Each class includes the necessary materials and instruction. Sushi classes are typically offered on a monthly basis and cost $60 per person. Call 407-307-3359 for details and reservations.
Publix Aprons Cooking Schools
Publix Aprons Cooking Schools offer a variety of weekly classes at two convenient Orlando locations in Dr. Phillips and Winter Park. Demonstration classes, ideal for a night with the girls, include a multi-course meal prepared cooking show-style by a team of chefs with a knack for entertaining. Hands-on classes invite you and your partner to wear the chef’s hat while preparing a meal with guidance from a pro, and the personalized environment sets the stage for a playful and delicious date night.
New classes are offered weekly. Class cost ranges from $40 - $165 per person.
Cooking With the Locals
Here are some fun ways to experience a tasty side of Orlando that’s a bit off the beaten path.
The Courtesy Bar: During this bar’s monthly cocktail class, acquire new party tricks, as a local mixologist teaches you how to concoct three seasonal craft cocktails. Classes are offered at this staple downtown Orlando bar on the first and third Saturday of each month at 5:15 p.m., and are around an hour long. The cost of the class is $55 per person, and includes materials, three drinks and gratuity.
Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden: This 3,000-square foot space in College Park is home to monthly community-focused classes like the Edible Education Experience Chef Night, pairing you with a prominent Orlando chef for an evening of hands-on cooking. Pick out seasonal ingredients from the garden, before converting your bounty into a healthy meal. Chef Night is $65 for adults and $25 for kids.
Wondermade: End a day trip to Historic Downtown Sanford on a sweet note with a visit to Wondermade, a one-stop shop for inventive marshmallows, ice cream and more. During the monthly date night workshop, tour the shop, sample treats, and decorate marshmallows. The cost is $20 per person.
Farris & Fosters Chocolate Factory: Every Friday evening is date night at this chocolate shop in Baldwin Park, just 15 minutes from downtown Orlando. Learn the art of chocolate making and craft a pound of confections to take home. Bonus: you can bring along a bottle of wine. The cost is $34 per couple.